While the Mediterranean towns of Piran, Izola and Koper entice with their medieval town cores Portorož invites with its holiday attractions. Salt pan workers can be seen at work on the Sečovlje Salt Pans, and the Karst with Postojna Cave, Škocjan Caves and Vilenica cave boasts the most stunning underground worlds on the planet, and is also home to the noble Lipizzaner horse. Intoxicating premium wines from the land of vine-rich hills of Goriška Brda can be sampled at numerous tourist farms and wineries in the region.
Slovenian Istria fascinates with its unique blend of Roman, medieval and Venetian influences and the beauty of its nature. Old city cores, picturesque villages and hamlets with their diverse cultural heritage invite you to visit. Whatever the season, you can relax while exploring one of many landscape parks, nature reserves and other protected areas.
Koper, Izola, Piran – three Istrian coastal towns at the draught of cultures, colourful past and present. Different places, from galleries and theatres to numerous open air events give today’s cultural beat to the towns. One can notice the interlacement of different cultural influences by listening to the conversations of the locals, by tasting the delicacies on the Istrian market in Koper or by walking between the stalls on street antiques fairs.
The interesting architectural, ethnological and other cultural heritage is presented in two central museums – Koper Regional Museum and Maritime Museum “Sergej Mašera” Piran and many smaller collections.
Will you visit the most beautiful Venetian square between Venice and Dubrovnik? Will you visit the famous Death Dance in the nearby village of Hrastovlje? Or will the murmur of the sea at the Piran punta make you forget about time? Old town centres, picturesque villages and hamlets invite with their rich cultural heritage. During all seasons, one can relax by discovering regional parks, nature reserves and other protected areas of nature and numerous thematic paths.
The old Mediterranean town of Izola leans on the southwestern coast of the Gulf of Trieste, where the genuine tradition of fishing and winemaking , the mistical traces of the past and the kindness of the locals form an unforgettable mosaic of experiences. The lively pace of the town and the romantic character welcome you, which is why it is said that you never forget Izola.
The turbulent history of the little fishing town created wonderful architecture treasures and old legends , which bring you back in time when Izola was still an island. The spirit of the Meditteranean can be felt with every step on clustered medieval streets, with the view of the rocking boats, with a relaxing chat with the locals, and with the aroma of speciality seafood dishes accompanied by good wine .
In Izola it is never boring because there are various sport, culture and entertainment events throughout the whole year and they are inspired by old customs and traditions. Museum, galleries and studios will bring you to the world of Istrian art and craft, but if you wish to experience real spiritual refreshment, sail the Adriatic sea.
Picturesque countryside of Izola with many valleys and long hills offers gourmet delights, which can be explored in several local restaurants and on tourist farms , most of which have a wonderful view of the Gulf of Trieste. Izola’s hinterland offers countless possibilities for roaming around and exploring the natural beauty of Istrian hills, on which are situated lovely stone houses and old churches. You can explore them on foot, on bycicle or even on a horse’s back .
Archaeological park Simonov zaliv
In the area of the Roman maritime villa and its background there is an extensive web of specimens of cultural and natural heritage of immense value nationwide. The site is protected as a monument of national importance.
The living area of the villa covers more than 3000 m², two sections of which are now partially visible. The living quarters are arranged around the inner courtyard, whereas the whole complex is connected to the adjacent port via a longer corridor (portico). In the background remains of waterworks were discovered – a set of clay pipes which ran under the ground, supplying the villa with fresh water.
The history of the villa revealed that it had ben built between 25 and 10 BC; by sometime between 50 and 70 some parts of the structure have already been abandoned. The corridor and the port have remained in use for a longer period of time. The excavations in the area around the villa in Simonov zaliv revealed different findings which enable the reconstruction of the inhabitants’ lifestyle and their economic activities. Some of the found objects are on display in the Maritime Museum of Sergej Mašera in Piran and in the Regional Museum of Koper.
The port in the bay of St. Simon is of particular importance: covering the area of more than 7000 m² it is one of the largest ports in Istria’s western coast. The pier which still featured bronze rings for securing ships in the 19th century is now hidden under the facilities of the public bathing area, whereas the remains of the jetty are still visible in the sea. SW of the port massive stone blocks are still visible under the water: these were probably part of the port’s storage facilities. It is important to emphasize that the port remained in use until the late middle ages.
In the past years some activities were conducted for the valorisation and promotion of the site; since 2010 the University of Primorska, specifically the Institute for Archaeology and Heritage of Faculty of Humanities is responsible for the management of this monument (owned by the Municipality of Izola).
Archaeological park includes the interpretive centre, the preserved and presented remains of the villa and its mosaics, the first underwater archaeological park, the innovative digital and interactive solutions to increase the empirical experiences of visitors – in short, the park’s full integration into the cultural and tourist offer.